Police and all the different city gangs have been working toward a truce that could hopefully bring an extended period of calm, if not peace, that has been very difficult to achieve in the past. These talks have resulted, at the very least, in the entire 4-day Easter weekend to be completely calm and without gang related violence.
It started as early as Monday, April 10, when gang figures from all 20 of the different Southside neighbourhoods came together at the conference room at the Raccoon Street Police Headquarters. They were there to talk out their many issues: the quarrels and the feuds that have been fuelling rivalries for months if not years.
The mediators who have been facilitating these talks are Assistant Police Commissioner Chester Williams, the officer commanding Eastern Division South, Dianne Finnegan, and Dashaun “Jahwi” Morris. After hours of discussion, the gangs came out in numbers for the first of its kind, “Walk for Peace; We are Humans”. It was a statement to the community and the general public that they are committed to some form of a ceasefire.
Though there was great skepticism that it would last for any length of time, since many attempts have been made, and all have either failed, or have gradually eroded over the years. This calming of tensions gave way to a very quiet Easter holiday in the city, and on Tuesday, April 18, the police held a follow-up session.
Coming out of those talks, ACP Chester Williams told the media, that getting to a common ground with all 20 gangs is a very intricate process. He said, “people are hurt, people are grieving and when you are dealing with people like that it is always difficult but it is an ongoing effort that we must sustain to be able to see how we can maintain peace and how we can direct them or convince them towards arriving at a truce between them. We know that it will be difficult but we do not think it is something that is unachievable.”
At last Wednesday’s march there were representatives from Majestic Alley, Pink Jungle, George Street, Conch Shell Bay, Banak Street, PIV, Bak a Lands, Sunset, Afghanistan, Kraal Road, Supal Street, Southside, Jane usher and Back a Faber’s Road.